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While Making Skyfall, Javier Bardem Pulled A Very Special Birthday Prank On Daniel Craig

Javier Bardem stands smiling in front of a captive Daniel Craig in Skyfall.
(Image credit: Danjaq, LLC and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.)

The chemistry between Skyfall leads Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem is an undeniable factor in why the 2012 film was so successful. In their respective roles of James Bond and Silva, the cat and mouse energy between the actors helped nail the latter character, who is arguably the best Bond villain ever. Behind the scenes, a similar energy was buzzing on set, as Bardem pulled a very special birthday prank on Mr. Craig while shooting that very film. 

We learned this story recently, as the former on-screen foes were joyfully reunited for Variety's Actors on Actors series. In these sorts of sit-downs, there’s always an intriguing note or two that comes up, especially if it’s a pair of collaborators that have worked on something as huge as Sam Mendes’ big introduction into the 007 canon. Thanks to Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem having birthdays that are a year and a day apart, the following moment was cooked up as a celebration for Mr. Craig’s turn in front of the cake:

Javier Bardem: We celebrated our birthday together once.

Daniel Craig: I remember you were in drag, but I know that’s a whole other story. 

JB: Coming out of a cake. I was supposed to be the Bond girl that night, and oh, my God, I was. … I sang ‘Happy Birthday to You,’ my best Marilyn Monroe impersonation. When they told me to sing, I was like, ‘Are you sure of that? Are you sure you want me singing?' And then I try.’”

How this moment wasn’t filmed and included in a Skyfall blooper/behind-the-scenes reel is a huge shame. That sort of thing that could even draw subscribers to the film’s current streaming home of Paramount+. However, maybe that would have been pushing too many buttons with studio executives, seeing as Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson had to fight to keep the big seduction scene between the two actors in the film proper.

That question was actually inspired by fact that Daniel Craig wanted to know more about Javier Bardem’s performance as Desi Arnaz in the all-star cast of Aaron Sorkin’s biopic Being The Ricardos. Meanwhile, Craig’s appearance is due to the awards season love that No Time To Die, which in turn caused Javier Bardem to ask about that film’s explosive ending. Just like when Craig reunited for a video chat with Casino Royale adversary Mads Mikkelsen, the results of this chat were more along the lines of a friendly chat rather than an interrogation. It looks like, left to their own devices, Bardem and Craig could have been as out of hand as Craig and Mikkelsen were when dreaming up ideas for their big scenes together. 

Were you to sum up this Skyfall reunion in two words, you would probably say something like “bubbly fondness.” Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem were clearly pleased to be talking with one another, and to divulge such a sweet story of shenanigans while making the 23rd of the James Bond movies makes it all even more of an event. If those are the stories they have to tell when dancing around their remembrances, who knows what else they might have to say in a deeper dive into that film? 

You can revisit Skyfall for yourself, as it’s currently streaming on Paramount+; though you might be doing that anyway before seeing or rewatching No Time To Die. The 25th James Bond movie is currently available for purchase or rental, both in physical and digital media. Meanwhile, you can next see Daniel Craig in his production of Macbeth, which is set to start previews on March 29th; and you can catch Javier Bardem playing Stilgar (a role he's compared to Lord of the Rings' Aragorn) in Dune, which is now available on home video.

Mike Reyes
Mike Reyes

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.